Bury may pay the price for Norwich City's stilted start to the Premier League

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Charlie Crowhurst/Getty ImagesNorwich City boss Chris Hughton will be hoping to bounce back in the cup.

Norwich appear to relish adversity. Bury could have cause to regret that trait in Tuesday's Capital One Cup second round tie at Carrow Road.

Under normal circumstances, the Canaries would view a cup game against the League Two Shakers as an unwanted distraction - after Chris Hughton's squad laboured in defeat against a spirited Hull City side a fresh chance at redemption cannot come quickly enough.

Hughton admitted during the immediate post-mortem to that sour loss on Humberside Norwich's priority is and always will be retaining their Premier League status. Southampton's pending visit to Norfolk remains the key game over coming days, but Hughton views Bury as a quick fix.

Norwich have made a faltering start to their third campaign in the English top flight. There was much to admire in the character-inducing comeback to salvage a point against Everton on the opening day when Ricky van Wolfswinkel's headed equaliser and the effervescent display of England Under-21 starlet Nathan Redmond hinted at tangible progress. City's wretched offering at the KC Stadium stalled momentum and irked a support who expect to enjoy a more comfortable passage to survival.

Losing to newly-promoted clubs forced to defend for an hour with 10-men, following Yannick Sagbo's red-card offence, is an unpalatable reality check and a sobering reminder the road will be just as arduous despite Hughton's record transfer splurge.

Yet in adding depth and richness to his roster, allied to the fitness returns of men like Sebastien Bassong and Anthony Pilkington, Bury may find themselves offered up as sacrificial lambs. Norwich's management and players will know Hull was an unacceptable regression and any repeat against lower league opponents in front of their own fans will simply not be tolerated; not with painful memories of their abject FA Cup exit to non-league Luton Town earlier this calendar year still raw.

Hughton alluded to the downturn following that shock Hatters' cup loss in January and the detrimental impact it had on their Premier League fortunes. Norwich's nosedive forced the Canaries into a late-season brush with relegation which did little for the collective pulse in these parts. Another early cup defeat against a fresh set of less-heralded players coming so soon after a stilted start to the Premier League season would be an indigestible recipe.

Hughton and Norwich's hierarchy have invested wisely and attracted a clutch of young talent to Norfolk over the summer recess, but to endure debilitating setbacks in league and cup would serve only to put manager and players on the back foot. Bury expect to be backed by a 1,000-strong travelling support at Carrow Road. It is home voices that need to be heard the loudest.


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